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High Summer Featuring Vanessa Hong

Vacation season is here, and now is the time to nail your summer wardrobe. After taking the Pre-Fall 2017 collection to the Maldives, influencer Vanessa Hong knows a thing or two about packing like an expert for your next trip. Whether you’re heading on a city break to capture some culture, or setting up on the beach for some much-needed R&R, read on for Vanessa’s tips on staying stylish in the sun.

“Through fashion and art I am able to communicate with everyone, in all walks of life,” Ferg explains as we survey the selection of decadent slippers and hand-finished DERBY loafers lining the Grand Penthouse Suite sitting atop New York’s Plaza Hotel. “Rap can pigeonhole you sometimes. It can be hard to communicate with people outside of the community once you’re in it—but with fashion and art it’s limitless. Designing and creating art allow me to think more broadly and that helps me to push hip hop culture forward.”

“Fashion, in particular, has been a lifelong pursuit inspired by his father’s involvement in the business. “A lot of my father’s work influenced my early style—and even now—because he was the first person I knew who owned a boutique,” Ferg recalls. “He had workers in a factory producing his clothing and he made his own clothing line, featuring silk screen and graphic designs on t-shirts.”

“THE MIDI BEJEWELLED HEELS, MARINE, WERE SO COMFORTABLE AND ADDED SOMETHING UNEXPECTED AND FUN.”

As for his own collection of kicks, Ferg says he’s, “lost count,” of how many pairs he’s accumulated, but these days he uses his style to inspire a whole new generation. “Fashion and style means being unique. When I was younger it was about being the first to have the Jordans or any new or rare sneaker. It was about being the first to be onto a trend and changing the game. I always wanted to be fresh going to school, have the eyes on me and have my teachers say, “Oh man, you have some new shoes today”. What I’m doing now with style is iconic. The A$AP Mob [a hip hop collective which Ferg has been a member of for most of the past decade] brings together a bunch of individuals who are into culture and lifestyle and we love to get fly. A lot of rappers don’t know how to dress and we show them how to.”

So, what does that look actually consist of? During the shoot day, Ferg styled his ensembles with personal pieces and explained that the, “key ingredient is function. I can’t wear anything that is uncomfortable and it has to feel magical. I’d say that my personal style is imaginative, moody and colourful; I love primary colour.” Shoes, of course, take centre stage. “What I love about Jimmy Choo shoes is that they’re built with premium leathers and fabrics and they’re not overly designed with a lot of logos and embellishments.

“THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF WHEN I THINK ‘JIMMY CHOO’: SEXY, FUN AND POWERFUL.”

As for style icons, he’s got a litany. “My style influences are David Bowie, Missy Elliott, Ludacris—during the late ‘90s & early ‘2000s—Diddy, Busta Rhymes’ music video outfits and the movie ‘Belly’. I heard Kanye say he didn’t want to dress like normal people—people walking in the streets. He wanted to dress in costume. I liken myself to that, because when I get dressed, I dress as if I’m playing a role in a movie.”

When it comes to collaborating with brands, hip hop artists have been incredibly successful at both harnessing the power of label aspiration and bringing their individual attitude to the table. “I think rappers have always been into fashion and designers have always been into the artists,” Ferg muses. “Donatella Versace would hang out with ‘Lil Kim and make her custom pieces, while Gianni Versace wrote letters to Tupac in jail saying he wanted to dress him when he came home. Even when you think about the older rappers who dressed like rockstars, they have always used clothing to express themselves. Social media has only helped to further the focus on the relationship between fashion and hip hop.”

Of course, it’s that utilitarian sneaker that Ferg, alongside many other members of the hip hop community—are best known for. “New shoes have, for me, always represented being fresh. When I was in Catholic school, we had to wear uniform, so the only time I got to show my flyness was on Thursdays in gym. I would wear my new sneakers every Thursday. Sneakers have always been a staple and now they’re coming in new styles, shapes and colours are getting even better as the technology improves.”

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